Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper) dreams of being a Cowboy – that’s all he’s ever wanted to do. He’s a born Texan, he’s grown up in a religious family in Texas and he lives for the Cowboy lifestyle. When he’s just a boy of 8 years old, his daddy Wayne, (by Ben Reed) teaches him to hunt and shoot. He loves it and he’s a natural … a real “dead-eye”. As an adult, he gives the Rodeo a go for a while, but he gets injured and retires too early from it, feeling totally unfulfilled. His life lacks something – he needs a way to really use his talent. In September 2001, he watches as the Twin Towers fall in New York City and he decides he can put his talent to good use by helping America in the global fight against terrorism. He joins the Navy and trains as a SEAL. While he’s at training camp, he meets Taya (by Sienna Miller) and they marry just as he’s called to his first Tour of Duty in Iraq. He soon gets a name for himself as the best sniper in the military. He gallantly serves his country over four Tours and he receives several commendations for his actions and heroism. Throughout the conflict, he observes the horrors of this warfare and watches with utter disbelief and sadness as his squad buddies are wounded or killed. Between Tours, although he thinks he’s doing fine, his wife can see he’s changing and starting to withdraw. He never speaks of his experiences and she can’t get through to him. In 2009, he is honourably discharged and he writes a memoir about his experiences. He finds solace through helping other returned servicemen work through their own emotions – until one day in 2013 when he attends a shooting range near Chalk Mountain in Texas and is shot dead by a veteran Marine.
This true story is based on Chris Kyle’s bestselling 2012 autobiography, “American Sniper”. The director, Clint Eastwood, has depicted Kyle very well in this movie – the scenes of his work as a military sniper are particularly gripping. Bradley Cooper’s performance is compelling as the crack-shot who seems to take it all in his stride – he appears to think nothing of taking another life in defence of his brave fellow countrymen. He goes about his “business” with a steely gaze and a solid determination. It’s as if he’s born to do this and will stop at nothing as long as there’s still a person alive who threatens a US hero. At the 2015 Academy Awards presentation, the movie won the award for Best Sound Editing. It also won an AFI for Movie of the Year and received BAFTA nominations for Best Film, Screenplay and Sound. In my opinion, the movie is too long and could be told in much less time, but overall it’s an interesting piece and he’s a fascinating person.
Made in 2014. Directed by Clint Eastwood.